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tv   The Stream  Al Jazeera  February 26, 2014 2:30am-3:01am EST

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working, which is great news for the whole country. >> c d.c. report had bad news. older children made no progress with 18% of kids, 6 to 11, remaining obese. >> hi i'm lisa fletcher, and you are in stream. is hollywood stuck in a time warp? when you watch a movie, you barely know that america looks ago. ♪ the entertainment industry eagerly awaits vanity fair's annual hollywood
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feature. the most diverse cover this year than ever. critics argue for reality to be achieved, other minorities would have to be included this may be the most diverse group of winners ever. but is disverity a measure of a film's success. this person thinks so. >> very strongly that the entertainment business, motion picture business in particular is going to be more open and aware of different voices. >> does that mean hollywood will focus on being a better preflexion of america diversity or is the movie business just that, a business. wajahat ali
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is here bringing all of your live feedback during the show. >> as you know, before i wore makeup for a living, i was a writer, and had the privilege of many of these power meeting, where literally i was the darkest thing in the room. and our community is tweeting in big time about that . . . but on the flip side, on facebook, peter says . . . and that's a big one, lisa, women who are a minority and that a lot of people forget
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that. >> here to dive in on this issue are some people who know it best, an actor, the blog editor for shadow and act, he is also a filmmaker, and an actress. here. so for most people going to the movies is about being entertained, unplugging for from reality for a couple of hours. why it is important to deflect diversity in a real way. >> i think stories are transformational. i think when you capture somebody's imagination, we can show them more about who we are, rather than what they look like. i think the entertainment industry has a responsibility to capture people's imagination and
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have a dialogue in a fun way. so i do find it to be a very important part of who we are, entertainment. >> what is the impact of what the media teaches about race and ethnicity particularly for people who may not have contact with various minority groups in their every day life? >> i think for -- for many, the cinema is where they learn about other people of a cultures. that's where they learn diversity. in some cases that where they first come from diversity. and i think if there isn't -- if the cinema which is the most popular form of media all over the world, doesn't reflect the diversity in real life, i think you are preventing a healthy portion of society from experiencing diversity and brings. >> our community chimes in,
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mikey says . . . ruth, going to go to you with this. you are a female, you are latino latino, what do you see? >> i think 16.7% actually of the youth population is of hispanic
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origin, but yeah, i think there has been some improvement in the amount of roles that are available, but the -- the stereo types still exist, and i think that is still what dominates our perception on screen, and i think we still have a long way to go. >> nothing about hollywood reflects reality, why should we expect this to? [ laughter ] >> i think, you know, there are -- there is -- there are projects out there. there is material out there which does reflect reality, which does record our history, which does show us where we have been and where we are going. yeah, i think -- yes, is there a disparity between what life is, and what hollywood is showing? yeah, i -- i completely agree with that. i want to put a different twist on it. my twist is this that we can't always make other people responsible for how they should show us. i think part of the discussion
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has to be what are we doing to change that? vis-a-vis hollywood? if we think, which i totally agree that there is a disparity, i think the responsibility also falls upon me and my people, whatever my people are, to make sure that we -- we do try to find that representation and bring it into the main stream. so i think there is -- we can't always push this blame on to the other guy. i think we also have to look at ourselves and see what we can do and not be complacent about it. >> i think the issue is the amount of gate keepers that exist in traditional media. we're getting our projects from the written page up to the screen is like a series of roadblocks along the way. i think that's why new immediate
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- media is going to change. unfortunately the powers of control are trying to take control of the media of the web and take it the way of traditional media, where it will be the same gate keeper in which content gets through and gets seen, and i think that's tragic, because the what people see on screen is their percent - communities. >> i think back to the cosby show in the '80s, love it or hate it, it made an enormous impact on how people saw black families in america. and it elevated what people would -- what that stereo type may have been, right? and i think of modern family now, and how it is normalizing
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the idea of a gay family. how important is that for there to be a gradual transition for people where these characters come into your living room and normalize things that may have been different or stereo typed for you growing up? >> well, i -- i think it's -- it's crucial. i think it's very important, but if i can piggyback on what was said earlier in that we really should rely on ourselves really as opposed to waiting for the gate keepers to come in and do what we want them to do for us, because i think we often tend to forget that this is first and foremost a business. the studios are in this to make money, and diversity is probably the 100th item on their list of things to worry about. the first thing is profit. so they tend to focus on what they think will make them money. so i think it's -- i think -- in
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my experience anyway, i have seen many young black writers, filmmakers who have essentially taken the reins, because the process has been democrat ized, and many are taking -- are claiming that and producing things like web series, and those are getting picked up andment becoming tv shows, some are signing deals with studios to make films. so i think some progress has been made but we have long way to go. >> yeah, but with the net neutrality rules going out the window, now that's going to be harder and harder for us to us. that's why i did my show back in 2008 and 2009. it was a way to prove there was an audience for our programming.
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and through direct feedback we learned it was broader than expected. one woman in france crew up with a bicultural experience, not my name experience, but she could completely relate to my character because of her duel upbringing, and that was really exciting to me, but now with the fcc rules going out the window, reins. >> i want to get some community in . . . >> all right. when we come back, we're going to talk more about hollywood's gate keepers. and are you a multi-tasker, we have an app for that, check this
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>> aging america continues... healtly retirees lending a hand to their aging neighbors. >> it's been tough gettin' old... >> a story of humanity and dignity. >> everybody needs a little bit of help sometimes... >> we can do it! >> on al jajeera america ♪ welcome back. we're talking about diversity in hollywood, and what drives the fairly mono chromatic big screen. there is a new study out and it was quite critical of talent agencies and agents, calling them gate keepers. does it start there with the diverse? >> let's go back for a second. i think what tamara said was absolutely right. let's not forget that it is a
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business. and in that business, profits are at the forefront. entertainment has -- you know, we think that it's just creat e creativity which is there, but business has a lot to do with it. so what happens? if it's talent or casting agencies, they are going to look at what is selling for them, and fill their rosters based on that. now given that, i think things are changing, and some of it is not because they want to be more diverse, but because i think the landscape is changing. we for the longest time depended on the domestic box office of a movie. that's no longer the case. i think domestic box office has something to do with it, but the international box office, the dvd's, all of that is now part of the conversation and the factor in how to cast roles and all of that, because they want to show diversity. so i think some of it is financially driven.
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yes, are they gate keepers? i don't think the talent agencies are the gate keepers at all. i don't think the casting directors are the gate keepers. i think in the end, it's the money that is the gate keeper, i think that's where the -- what it boils to, and if people are making money they are open the get a gates, and if they are not they are not open the gates. but i think it is good for business to diversify. according to a forbes article, the hispanic buying power will be up to $1.5 trillion in 2015. it's $1.3 trillion as of now. so i think there's a disconnect between what is going to be profitable and hiring people that you know and the people that you are comfortable with. i think there is something that right. >> i think you are absolutely right. and that's what i'm saying. my point is that we keep -- we're in a place right
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now, where we can take that power -- and i'm not trying to be revolutionary, but with the social media and technology that we have in our -- in -- within our reach, i think we can do that. i mean you can see there is more crowd funding happening. people are trying to take back some of the power that we had given to these studios, and i am seeing a change in the landscape, and i'm hoping that that particular movement will keep on growing as we go on. >> the community is tweeting in about power . . .
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and we got this great video comment from aj. listen in. >> on one hand the issue of race in hollywood is rather simple most of the shows are by and about white men. but it has a lot to do with the composition around hollywood, the producers of talent, development executives, and awards granting institutions, overwhelmingly composed of white older men, and we can see that reflected in shows and films. >> connect the dots for us. show me the negative trickle down effect of having utter lack of diversity from the studio head to the agents, producers, and actors. what are the consequences? of that?
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>> i have heard so many stories of black filmmakers who walk in to pitch ideas, and very often there is just a disconnect, because they speak often to -- this is an industry that is run by white men as the commentator just said, and for that reason they are making films that reflect what they know, so if an african american has an idea about a young black man middle class, who went to yale, and went on and did wonderful things, to them it's sort of a foreign idea because it doesn't reflect their reality. it doesn't reflect the bubble i would say within which they live. so it doesn't -- it doesn't translate, so often you see that project rejected whereas if were a white filmmaker who had the
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same story but switched to an african american man for a made. >> go ahead finish your thought. >> what happens then -- is then -- i mean the gate keepers are not the casting directors or the -- i forget what the other one was, but really it's moneybags, the people with the money, the financiers. they are the ones that ultimately make the decisions. they prop up who they want to prop up. there is always an it actor or ak actress. >> a minute ago there was a tweet saying why aren't there latino doctors and nurses and teachers et cetera, et cetera, and it made me think of shanda grimes who is one of the biggest in hollywood, and she has been criticized for having diversity
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just for the sake of having diversity and having it be hollow. people in minority communities say those people don't represent us in a true way. they don't reflect our experiences as a minority. is there a bridge for just diversity? >> that's an interesting question. i don't know if -- you know, chandra rice would probably answer that better than i can. i'm not sure why it's in her particular case that's -- that's how it has worked out. i go back to saying in the end if you want to really attack this question, we need to attack the idea of where the funding is coming from, where the finances are coming from, and that's why i keep going back to this idea of taking back the -- the -- the backbone of this industry, which
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is the finances, and how do you do that is to me the more interesting question. and we need to tackle that, i think more if you want . -- to see the change in the landscape of hollywood. >> we have some community . . . so. >> and we have . . . i do not feel represented at all in hollywood. >> i think there is a strange idea that stands out there that hollywood is this one big building where all of us work. it is not that. i think if -- if we know what
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the problem is, there isn't enough diversity. i completely agree with that. i deal with that every day of my life. what i'm saying is that we can -- we need to change that, and in order to change that, the -- the thing that we need to attack or solve is the funding issue. i'll give you an example. i'm on a board of a company where that's exactly what they are trying to do, change the funds that are being -- that are available to people who might be minorities, who mighting want to make films, or television shows. i think that is the kind of workers -- or solution that we need to be finding, which is how do you empower the people so that we can be represented, and we don't have to rely on the other guy to do it for us, we do it for ourselves. >> and in order to prove that -- >> i'm going to have to stop you
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there, ruth, because we have got to hit a break. >> okay. >> but when we come back, where the path to success is widening for >> heavily armed, combat tactics >> every little podunk wants their tank and their bazooka... >> with s.w.a.t. raids on the rise... >> when it goes wrong, it goes extremely wrong... >> what's the price for militarizing our police >> they killed evan dead >> faul lines, al jazeera america's hard hitting... >> there blocking the door... >> ground breaking... >> we have to get out of here... >> truth seeking... break though investigative documentary series... new episode, deadly force only on al jazeera america
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al jazeera america. welcome back sthchl we're talking about diversity in hollywood, and why it matters. and waj we asked our community to tweet us about the movies and tv shows that they thought were doing a good job of diversity. >> yeah.
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[ laughter ] >> so no roles for actors -- >> south park offends everyone. >> voices. >> yes, that's true. >> i would like to respond to something that was being said before the commercial break if that's okay. i think that it's important -- what happens i think that we need writers and executive producers in decision-making roles that really know our communities. what ends up happening from a viewer point of view is when there is content created for the latino community it is largely stereotypical, so it turns off the latinos watching. and that doesn't .connect with us. so i think that you need people who are in -- staffed in -- in those writing rooms who are really part of the community or really understand the community. some of the characters written
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and portrayed and the shows that are diverse -- >> speaking about opening those avenues into those staffs, how do you open the ranks of the industry into the writing room and places like that? >> someone has to be -- someone i say someone -- those in power who -- who have made it, especially those who belong to the various minority --quote unquote, minority groups, whether it's african-americans in my particular case, those who have made it should essentially reach down and pull up those who are talented enough to actually -- who belong in those rooms. i think that's just -- i'm not sure that is something that is happening as often as it needs to. but that's where it starts. somebody has to take the risk, and those that haven't done it happen. >> i'm going to go off of this community tweet . . .
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how do we get the, quote unquote, ethnic talent to bum keeper? >> i think we have to -- i think ruth is right. we do need to get people into the writing rooms, we need to get people into those places of decision making so that we can start to change this more. it does start, i think, communities have to support us, because i think there is no dearth of content or brilliant minds out there to create the content. we do need to do that. but at the same time, the communities, people can help by funding these projects by making sure that -- that -- i'm sorry -- >> we have about five, ten seconds left here. so i'm going to stop you there, and thank all of our guests. until next time, we will see you all online.
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